Articles | Volume 19, issue 3
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1547–1559, 2015
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 1547–1559, 2015

Research article 26 Mar 2015

Research article | 26 Mar 2015

Evaluation of high-resolution precipitation analyses using a dense station network

A. Kann1, I. Meirold-Mautner1, F. Schmid1, G. Kirchengast2,3, J. Fuchsberger2, V. Meyer1, L. Tüchler1, and B. Bica1 A. Kann et al.
  • 1Department of Forecasting Models, Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), Vienna, Austria
  • 2Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WEGC), University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 3Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Meteorology/Institute of Physics, University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Abstract. The ability of radar–rain gauge merging algorithms to precisely analyse convective precipitation patterns is of high interest for many applications, e.g. hydrological modelling, thunderstorm warnings, and, as a reference, to spatially validate numerical weather prediction models. However, due to drawbacks of methods like cross-validation and due to the limited availability of reference data sets on high temporal and spatial scales, an adequate validation is usually hardly possible, especially on an operational basis. The present study evaluates the skill of very high-resolution and frequently updated precipitation analyses (rapid-INCA) by means of a very dense weather station network (WegenerNet), operated in a limited domain of the southeastern parts of Austria (Styria). Based on case studies and a longer-term validation over the convective season 2011, a general underestimation of the rapid-INCA precipitation amounts is shown by both continuous and categorical verification measures, although the temporal and spatial variability of the errors is – by convective nature – high. The contribution of the rain gauge measurements to the analysis skill is crucial. However, the capability of the analyses to precisely assess the convective precipitation distribution predominantly depends on the representativeness of the stations under the prevalent convective condition.

Short summary
The paper introduces a high resolution precipitation analysis system which operates on 1 km x 1 km resolution with high frequency updates of 5 minutes. The ability of such a system to adequately assess the convective precipitation distribution is evaluated by means of an independant, high resolution station network. This dense station network allows for a thorough evaluation of the analyses under different convective situations and of the representativeness error of raingaue measurements.